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Workers shun hospitality industry

Wednesday, 1st April, 2015

The Silly Goat’s manager, Emily Keenan, said the hospitality industry can provide a rewarding career for those who are simply willing to work The Silly Goat’s manager, Emily Keenan, said the hospitality industry can provide a rewarding career for those who are simply willing to work

By Darrin Manuel

They say good help is hard to find, but for some Broken Hill businesses the search seems to be particularly challenging.

There is believed to be an element of frustration in the local hospitality industry, with owners struggling to find genuine job applicants and employees who are willing to work.

Silverton Hotel owner Peter Price said he had noticed an indifference to hospitality jobs in the community since he moved to the city five years ago.

He said job openings usually resulted in a few token resumes from people who had no genuine interest in working, and were often simply looking to meet their job search requirements for the dole.

Attempts to take a punt on one of the prospective employees usually ended with the hotel waiting on a call back from the applicant that never comes.

“There’s this culture that work is just an intrusion on people’s social life, and it’s frustrating.

“It’s almost like their social life is more important, and I think we just need a whole attitude change, especially with the young ones.

“There’s got to be good ones out there, and I don’t want to knock them all... But from our point of view as employers it’s getting worse and worse.”

Mr Price was keen to stress that his comments weren’t an attack on legitimate jobseekers, but a call for perceptions to change in regard to the hospitality industry and the workplace in general.

“I don’t want to be perceived as ‘having a go’, but we have to look at the situation, look at what is happening and say ‘what is wrong?’

“We can all just sit around and bitch about it amongst ourselves, but sometimes you do need to say a bit more.

“I’ve got a big season coming up, I’ve got a whiteboard chock full of events and I don’t want to go to that same old story of getting people from away.”

Emily Keenan of The Silly Goat cafe said she had faced similar difficulties when it came to staffing.

“It’s a strange thing, it’s not that I can’t find people, it’s that it’s hard to find good, reliable hospitality staff,” she said.

“People with the right attitude, and a passion for the industry.

“A lot of our staff that have come and gone for one reason or another just can’t commit themselves to this sort of work.

“There have been so many opportunities where we wanted good staff, and we get an inflow of resumes and only around two per cent actually come in with any willingness to work; it’s so impossible.”

Ms Keenan, who has built a reputation as a talented barista, added that students and jobseekers were often simply unaware of how rewarding a career in hospitality can be if they apply themselves.

“It’s like Broken Hill isn’t passionate about hospitality, like it’s not a career choice,” she said.

“I’d want to send the message that hospitality is one of the most fun jobs out there, it can take you anywhere if you’re willing to be flexible.”

Both businesses had a message for job-hunters who were serious about finding work in one of the world’s biggest industries - don’t simply fire off a resume and forget about it.

Make yourself available, return calls, make an effort to meet your prospective employer, and most of all, be willing to work.

“We base our hiring on how they present themselves, and all the good staff we have hired has come from that,” said Ms Keenan.

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